Blackberrys used to be ubiquitous in investment banking. The smart phone ensured that bankers could never escape the office, tied constantly to ‘crackberrys’, sleeping fitfully with them on their chests in case an ‘urgent’ email should arrive from an MD at 3am.
Deutsche Bank’s decision to ditch Blackberry devices for its staff signals the end of an era. Blackberry no longer produces handsets and most investment banks now operate a Bring Your Own Device policy that allows employees to use whichever phone they prefer.
Now, though, one senior investment banker has taken a job to turn the flagging fortunes of Blackberry around. Vito Giallorenzo, a managing director within Perella Weinberg’s New York technology investment banking team has quit for a new senior role at Blackberry.
He has just taken a role as senior vice president in corporate development and strategic partnerships in San Francisco. Giallorenzo quit Perella Weinberg after nine years working on technology deals last month. This is his second stint in corporate development, having previously left Morgan Stanley in 2008 to work for e-commerce firm Naspers on its European acquisitions.
Giallorenzo started out in investment banking after completing an MBA at INSEAD in 2006. He joined Morgan Stanley's technology investment banking team. Before this, he spent four years working as a systems engineer at tech firm Cisco Systems.
Blackberry has changed its focus over the past year. It licensed the production of its smartphones to Chinese firm TCL, which seems to be touting the presence of a physical keyboard as a big selling point in the world of touch screens. It’s now focused on software and is set to hire more salesman to help promote it.
Still, moving to Blackberry seems like a risky move. The firm had 16,500 employees five years ago, and just 4,000 now – 500 people have disappeared over the past year.
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